Tri-Valley State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) announced this month that his current term in the seat through next year will be his last, paving the way for a competitive race for an open seat representing local voters in California's upper legislative house.
Glazer made the announcement on the Aug. 11 episode of his "Table Talks" podcast, putting an end to speculation for the moment about whether he would even be eligible to run for another full term -- which, had he decided to do so, would have been a "test case" for state law surrounding term limits.
"I have this choice of whether or not I should run again, and I'm making the decision that I'm not going to do that," Glazer said on the podcast.
The decision came despite loving his work in the position, Glazer said, where he won a special election in 2015 to fill the remaining 1-1/2 years of the term left by Mark DeSaulnier, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2014. Glazer subsequently won reelection to full four-year terms in 2016 and 2020.
An update to state law on term limits in 2012 referred only to years in a position, putting the cap at 12 years total among the State Senate and State Assembly, rather than containing explicit language on terms. Under previous legislation, Glazer said it had been clear that his time in the Senate to finish out the remainder of DeSaulnier's term "wouldn't count" against his term limit.
As it stands, the letter of the law would put Glazer's 12th year in the middle of his term were he to win reelection in 2024, and thus lead to a midterm vacancy.
"The issue's never been adjudicated, so I would be the test case," Glazer said. "And I've decided that I don't really want to create that dynamic, and so I'm not going to run for reelection."
He added that one concern was that if he were to run for reelection, the "test case" dynamic could deter challengers for the seat and muddy the waters of the race, deterring potential candidates who might not want to get in the way of his election to an additional term.
"If the court took action -- and it would likely take action late in the process -- and invalidated my candidacy, it would mean that the serious candidates wouldn't be on the ballot, that you might have some fringe candidates remaining on the ballot, and I would prefer the voters to have the choice of the more serious candidates and not create that potential for chaos," said Glazer, a former Orinda councilmember who has gained a reputation as a moderate California Democrat.
Glazer said that he would be looking into other offices he might be interested in serving, with his eyes on some in particular but no decision or campaign announcement so far. One option he said he was looking into was seeking to replace State Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) for Assembly District 15, should Grayson be successful in a campaign for Glazer's current seat that was also announced earlier this month.
Glazer said he would also be looking into the State Treasurer's Office, in addition to exploring other opportunities. He unsuccessfully ran for state controller in the June 2022 primary election.
"I have a lot of energy and love for public service, so I'm hopefully going to find a good avenue to stay involved," Glazer said.